Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1602. Solitude
 
By Philip Henry Savage
 
 
AS one advances up the slow ascent
Along the pathway in the woods, the trees
Change aspect, nor alone in this, but change
In stature and in power till Solitude
Seems cut out of the ancient forest. Here        5
Was Solitude! where man had lived of old,
Loved, serving God, and built himself a home.
Man smooths an acre on the rolling earth,
Turns up the mould and reaps the gifts of God;
Plucks down the apple from the tree, the tree        10
From empire in the forest, builds a home;
Turns for a bout among his brothers, wins
A sister to his wife and gets an heir;
And then as here in Solitude departs
And leaves small mark behind. The place is rare        15
In this high epic of the human life.
Where wildness has been wilderness shall be,
But give God time; and life is but a span,
Nine inches, while before it and behind
Stretches the garden of the cosmic gods;        20
For after London, England shall be wild,
And none can thaw the iceberg at the pole.
In Solitude one sees the winding trace
Of what has been a road, a block of stone
Footworn, that lies along the dim pathway        25
Before one old foundation; and the rest
Is freaks of grass among the rising growth
Of birch and maple that another year
Shall see almost a forest.
 

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